Legislature(1995 - 1996)

03/18/1996 01:05 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
               HOUSE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                              
                         March 18, 1996                                        
                           1:05 p.m.                                           
                                                                               
                                                                               
 MEMBERS PRESENT                                                               
                                                                               
 Representative Brian Porter, Chairman                                         
 Representative Joe Green, Vice Chairman                                       
 Representative Con Bunde                                                      
 Representative Bettye Davis                                                   
 Representative Al Vezey                                                       
 Representative Cynthia Toohey                                                 
 Representative David Finkelstein                                              
                                                                               
 MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                
                                                                               
 None                                                                          
                                                                               
 COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                            
                                                                               
 Confirmation of Sharon Nahorney to the Commission of Judicial                 
 Conduct                                                                       
                                                                               
 HOUSE BILL 493                                                                
 "An Act relating to involuntary commitment for alcoholism or drug             
 abuse."                                                                       
                                                                               
      - CSHB 493 (JUD) MOVED FROM COMMITTEE                                    
                                                                               
 HOUSE BILL 479                                                                
 An Act relating to civil liability for injuries or death resulting            
 from equine activities."                                                      
                                                                               
      - CSHB 479 (L&C) MOVED FROM COMMITTEE                                    
                                                                               
 HOUSE BILL 318                                                                
 "An Act relating to advance directives for mental health                      
 treatment."                                                                   
                                                                               
      - CSHB 318 (JUD) MOVED FROM COMMITTEE                                    
                                                                               
 HOUSE BILL 359                                                                
 "An Act relating to the appointment and confirmation process for              
 member of certain boards, commissions, and similar bodies; relating           
 to terms of certain appointees; and providing for an effective                
 date."                                                                        
                                                                               
      - CSHB 359 (JUD) MOVED FROM COMMITTEE                                    
                                                                               
 PREVIOUS ACTION                                                               
                                                                               
 BILL:  HB 493                                                               
 SHORT TITLE: INVOLUNTARY COMMITMENT:ALCOHOL/DRUG ABUSE                        
 SPONSOR(S):  REPRESENTATIVE(S) IVAN                                           
                                                                               
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG             ACTION                                        
 02/09/96      2698    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 02/09/96      2698    (H)   JUDICIARY, FINANCE                                
 02/23/96              (H)   JUD AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                       
 02/23/96              (H)   MINUTE(JUD)                                       
 02/26/96              (H)   JUD AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                       
 02/26/96              (H)   MINUTE(JUD)                                       
 03/08/96              (H)   JUD AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                       
                       (H)   MINUTE(JUD)                                       
 03/18/96              (H)   JUD AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                       
                                                                               
 BILL:  HB 479                                                               
 SHORT TITLE: IMMUNITY FOR EQUINE ACTIVITIES                                   
 SPONSOR(S):  REPRESENTATIVE(S) G. DAVIS                                       
                                                                               
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG             ACTION                                        
 02/07/96      2650    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 02/07/96      2650    (H)   LABOR & COMMERCE, JUDICIARY                       
 02/28/96              (H)   L&C AT  3:00 PM CAPITOL 17                        
 02/28/96              (H)   MINUTE(L&C)                                       
 03/06/96              (H)   L&C AT  3:00 PM CAPITOL 17                        
 03/08/96      3025    (H)   L&C RPT  CS(L&C) 3DP 2NR                          
 03/08/96      3025    (H)   DP: PORTER, SANDERS, KOTT                         
 03/08/96      3025    (H)   NR: ELTON, KUBINA                                 
 03/08/96      3026    (H)   ZERO FISCAL NOTE (DCED)                           
 03/18/96              (H)   JUD AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                       
                                                                               
 BILL:  HB 318                                                                 
 SHORT TITLE: MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT DECLARATIONS                             
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) TOOHEY,B.Davis                                  
                                                                               
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG             ACTION                                        
 04/21/95      1427    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 04/21/95      1427    (H)   HES, JUDICIARY                                    
 03/07/96              (H)   HES AT  4:00 PM CAPITOL 106                       
 03/07/96              (H)   MINUTE(HES)                                       
 03/08/96      3021    (H)   HES RPT  5DP 1NR                                  
 03/08/96      3021    (H)   DP: ROKEBERG, BUNDE, TOOHEY, ROBINSON             
 03/08/96      3021    (H)   DP: BRICE                                         
 03/08/96      3021    (H)   NR: G.DAVIS                                       
 03/08/96      3021    (H)   ZERO FISCAL NOTE (DHSS)                           
 03/18/96              (H)   JUD AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                       
                                                                               
 BILL:  HB 359                                                                 
 SHORT TITLE: APPOINTMENT PROCESS FOR BDS & COMM'NS                            
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) PORTER,Green                                    
                                                                               
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG             ACTION                                        
 12/29/95      2360    (H)   PREFILE RELEASED                                  
 01/08/96      2360    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 01/08/96      2360    (H)   STATE AFFAIRS, JUDICIARY                          
 03/07/96              (H)   STA AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
 03/07/96              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                       
 03/09/96              (H)   STA AT 10:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
 03/11/96      3056    (H)   STA RPT  2DP 2NR 1AM                              
 03/11/96      3056    (H)   DP: PORTER, GREEN                                 
 03/11/96      3056    (H)   NR: IVAN, ROBINSON                                
 03/11/96      3056    (H)   AM: JAMES                                         
 03/11/96      3056    (H)   ZERO FISCAL NOTE (GOV)                            
 03/12/96      3099    (H)   COSPONSOR(S): GREEN                               
 03/18/96              (H)   JUD AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                       
                                                                               
 WITNESS REGISTER                                                              
                                                                               
 SHARON NAHORNEY                                                               
 Courtwatch Director                                                           
 Victims for Justice                                                           
 619 E. Fifth Avenue                                                           
 Anchorage, Alaska  99501                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 278-0977                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified regarding confirmation to the                  
                      Commission of Judicial Conduct                           
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE IVAN IVAN                                                      
 Alaska State Legislature                                                      
 State Capitol, Room 503                                                       
 Juneau, Alaska  99501-2133                                                    
 Telephone:  (907) 465-4942                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified regarding HB 493 as sponsor                    
                                                                               
 BARBARA BRINK, Esq.                                                           
 Alaska Public Defenders Agency                                                
 900 West 5th, Suite 200                                                       
 Anchorage, Alaska  99501                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 264-4400                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified regarding HB 493                               
                                                                               
 SHANNON O'FALLON, Esq.                                                        
 Human Services Section                                                        
 Department of Law                                                             
 P.O. Box 110300                                                               
 Juneau, Alaska  99811-0300                                                    
 Telephone:  (907) 465-3600                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided information on HB 493                           
                                                                               
 DIRK NELSON                                                                   
 Alaska Civil Liberties Union                                                  
 P.O. Box 2437                                                                 
 Valdez, Alaska  99686                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 835-5894                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified regarding HB 493                               
                                                                               
 KATHI BURNS, Clinical Director                                                
 Northern Lights Recovery Center                                               
 P.O. Box 305                                                                  
 Nome, Alaska  99762                                                           
 Telephone:  (907) 443-3312                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified regarding HB 493                               
                                                                               
 DONALD DAPCEVICH, Executive Director                                          
 Governor's Advisory Board on Alcoholism                                       
    & Drug Abuse                                                               
 Department of Health & Social Services                                        
 P.O. Box 110607                                                               
 Juneau, Alaska  99801-0607                                                    
 Telephone:  (907) 465-2071                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified regarding HB 493                               
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE GARY DAVIS                                                     
 Alaska State Legislature                                                      
 State Capitol, Room 420                                                       
 Juneau, Alaska  99801-1182                                                    
 Telephone:  (907) 465-2693                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified as sponsor regarding HB 479                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE CYNTHIA TOOHEY                                                 
 Alaska State Legislature                                                      
 State Capitol, Room 104                                                       
 Juneau, Alaska  99801-1182                                                    
 Telephone:  (907) 465-4919                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified as sponsor regarding HB 318                    
                                                                               
 LEONARD ABEL, PhD                                                             
 Mental Health Services Program                                                
 Division of Mental Health &                                                   
    Developmental Disabilities                                                 
 Department of Health & Social Services                                        
 P.O. Box 110620                                                               
 Juneau, Alaska  99811-0620                                                    
 Telephone:  (907) 465-3370                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided information regarding HB 318                    
                                                                               
 DOROTHY PEAVEY, Executive Director                                            
 Mental Health Consumers of Alaska                                             
 430 W 7th Ave, #220                                                           
 Anchorage, Alaska  99501                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 277-3817                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided information regarding HB 318                    
                                                                               
 RICHARD RAINERY, Executive Director                                           
 Alaska Mental Health Board                                                    
 431 N. Franklin, Suite 101                                                    
 Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 465-4765                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided information regarding HB 318                    
                                                                               
 TERRI LAUTERBACH, Esq.                                                        
 Legislative Legal and Research Services                                       
 130 Seward Street, Suite 409                                                  
 Juneau, Alaska  99801-2105                                                    
 Telephone:  (907) 465-2450                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided information regarding HB 318                    
                                                                               
 ACTION NARRATIVE                                                              
                                                                               
 TAPE 96-36, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 000                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN BRIAN PORTER called the House Judiciary committee meeting            
 to order at 1:05 p.m.  Members present at the call to order were              
 Representatives Green, Bunde, Toohey and Davis.  Representative               
 Finkelstein arrived at 1:07 p.m. and Representative Vezey at 1:22             
 p.m.  There were no members absent.                                           
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER noted that the committee's first order of business            
 was to consider the confirmation of Sharon Nahorney to the                    
 Commission of Judicial Conduct.  He then introduced Ms. Nahorney.             
                                                                               
 Number 089                                                                    
                                                                               
 SHARON NAHORNEY, Court Watch Director, Victims for Justice,                   
 testified by telephone from Anchorage.  She stated that she was               
 pleased that the governor had asked her to be on the Alaska                   
 Judicial Conduct Commission.  She had already served for four years           
 on this commission and felt as though her Court Watch experience,             
 along with Victims for Justice had been beneficial.  She also felt            
 as though she had a unique public perspective to bring to this                
 forum.  She asked the legislature to confirm her.  Ms. Nahorney               
 said that this public entity was absolutely vital and has seen a              
 lot of changes in format as result.  She felt as though people were           
 treated more fairly, with more dignity and respect by having more             
 vocal people on this commission, which has made a big difference.             
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY said she was delighted that Ms. Nahorney was            
 going to accept this appointment again.  She felt that Alaska was             
 a better state for Ms. Nahorney's oversight.  Representative Toohey           
 then made a motion to move the recommendation of Ms. Nahorney to              
 the Commission of Judicial Conduct to be considered by the House              
 floor.  There being no objection it was so moved.                             
                                                                               
 HB 493 INVOLUNTARY COMMITMENT:ALCOHOL/DRUG ABUSE                            
                                                                               
 Number 330                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE IVAN IVAN came forward to present testimony on HB              
 493 as sponsor.  He stated that some concerns arose from the                  
 previous testimony on HB 493 and he noted that these concerns have            
 been addressed by his staff.  Representative Ivan listed all the              
 entities which came together to discuss changes to this                       
 legislation.                                                                  
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE JOE GREEN made a motion to adopt version (G) of CSHB           
 493 as the committee's working document.  There being no objection            
 it was so moved.                                                              
                                                                               
 Number 529                                                                    
                                                                               
 BARBARA BRINK, Attorney, Alaska Public Defenders Agency testified             
 from Anchorage by teleconference.  She stated that she appreciated            
 the input by the various entities to ensure that this legislation             
 passed constitutional muster, but she expressed some still                    
 exisiting legal concerns whether or not this legislation would                
 violate constitutional due process.  She noted that this might be             
 beyond their fixing.  She believed the impetus for this bill was to           
 make it easier for substance abuse counselors and concerned family            
 members and friends to involuntarily commit someone in order that             
 the client must participate in treatment.                                     
                                                                               
 MS. BRINK stated that normally, before the state can lock up                  
 someone against their will, they have to prove that the state has             
 a valid and strong interest in locking this person up because the             
 fundamental rights and liberties requires strict scrutiny.  This              
 means that a person remaining at large or at liberty has to be                
 balanced against the state's interest in curtailing this liberty.             
 The previous standard requires that a person has to be                        
 demonstratively shown to be dangerous to themselves or others.  The           
 previous language in the statute requires some proof regarding the            
 likelihood of an infliction of physical harm on another person.               
 This is why it was so difficult to lock someone up in requiring               
 them to have treatment against their will.  This is a difficult               
 standard to meet.                                                             
                                                                               
 MS. BRINK went on to note that the current standard in this bill              
 and the CS just adopted is worded so broadly that it has due                  
 process problems.  She thought that the concept of dangerousness              
 was a constitutional requirement that this present bill does not              
 require.  For example, she asked if this legislation covered a                
 person who is defined to be incapacitated by alcohol or drugs                 
 simply if their judgment is so impaired that they are not making              
 rational decisions regarding their treatment.  This could include             
 anybody who is a user or an abuser who does not want to go to                 
 treatment.  The second prong of the test is whether or not they're            
 at risk of serious physical harm or illness unless committed, the             
 "or illness" prong caused concerns for her.                                   
                                                                               
 MS. BRINK stated that interpreted broadly this legislation could              
 include someone who smokes two packs of cigarettes a day.  They are           
 certainly placing themselves in serious risk of harm or illness,              
 they have demonstrated an increased tolerance for cigarettes and              
 the drug contained in them, they suffer from withdrawal and it's a            
 significant habit to their health.  By interpreting the language of           
 this bill at face value, she felt it was not strict enough to pass            
 constitutional muster.  She also noted some procedural safe guards            
 which were missing, for example, in a civil commitment proceeding             
 the state has to prove by clear and convincing evidence that a                
 person should be committed.  They have to place someone at the very           
 closest facility available and they're entitled to a hearing, which           
 could be a problem.  This hearing problem should be corrected,                
 because under a mental health commitment they are entitled to a               
 hearing within 72 hours and as Ms. Brink read the CS this could be            
 up to 10 days after the hearing.                                              
                                                                               
 MS. BRINK said that for all these reasons she has legal concerns              
 about the bill, but as a public defender she also has some policy             
 concerns.  She said that they were talking about a very valuable              
 and limited resource which was their alcohol treatment facilities.            
 She has represented many people who fall within these definitions             
 of alcoholic or drug abuser.  Her own personal experience has been            
 that those people who are going to benefit from treatment are those           
 who find it within themselves who are self-motivated and finally              
 reach that point in their lives where they actively seek out the              
 treatment themselves.                                                         
                                                                               
 MS. BRINK noted that what they were doing was forcing people who              
 are not at this willing point into these limited treatment beds and           
 they were taking those options away from people who might most                
 benefit from them.  She felt as though the success rates for                  
 treatment bear out her personal experience, that people who                   
 actively seek out treatment, who are willing and able benefit from            
 this treatment.  She also felt that this legislation could have an            
 unfair impact on rural citizens.  In many small towns and villages            
 there are no facilities available.  She wondered about the impact             
 of this bill by taking someone out of their home village and                  
 shipping them to Anchorage.                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 817                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN asked that in her experience did Ms.               
 Brink know whether or not that the state was putting people through           
 treatment now, but just in a different form.  He asked if they go             
 through some type of patrol picked up and then placed in a detox              
 program.  He asked if these programs were involuntary as well.                
                                                                               
 MS. BRINK answered yes, but that this sort of commitment was for a            
 very limited period of time, up to twelve hours only until they are           
 no longer so incapacitated.  She understood that Juneau has used              
 the involuntary civil commitment procedure to try to force                    
 treatment on other people, but it has been found not to be a                  
 workable solution in other communities.                                       
                                                                               
 Number 890                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN understood that detox treatment was for            
 three days.                                                                   
                                                                               
 MS. BRINK responded that these inebriates can be required to stay             
 up to 72 hours if someone files a petition.                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY stated that she absolutely agreed with Ms.              
 Brink, unless someone wants to stop drinking it's pointless to put            
 them anywhere.  She thought that the cost of this program was                 
 prohibitive.  She asked about a fiscal note with this CS and                  
 although she applauded Representative Ivan's desire to help every             
 alcoholic, she stated, "you can only take a horse to water, you               
 can't make them drink."                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 990                                                                    
                                                                               
 SHANNON O'FALLON, Department of Law, Human Services Section,                  
 testified to the constitutional issues regarding HB 493.  She                 
 stated that Ms. Brink was correct about the Supreme Court requiring           
 some levels of dangerousness in order for the state to commit                 
 someone.  The Supreme Court has addressed this issue in the context           
 of mental health issues and she imagined it would be the same.  If            
 there's someone who suffers from mental illness or from alcoholism            
 or drug abuse, to the extent it's either making them a danger to              
 themselves or to others, or incapacitating them to a level that               
 they can't care for themselves, she felt that the state's interest            
 in treating these individuals and forcing them into treatment meets           
 the constitutional requirements.                                              
                                                                               
 MS. O'FALLON stated that Ms. Brink may also be right that in the              
 definition of incapacitated by alcohol or drugs, it may be that               
 they may need to change an "or" there to "and".  This would be on             
 page 7, line 22.  It is probably not enough to have someone be                
 incapacitated by alcohol or drugs and incapable of making rational            
 decisions for treatment, this probably isn't enough to commit                 
 someone.  There then has to be another level met which would                  
 require that these individuals are unable to care for their basic             
 needs.  If the word "or" after the word treatment was changed to              
 "and" then this should be sufficient.  The level of dangerousness             
 would be the individual not being able to care for themselves.                
 This would take care of some of Ms. Brink's concerns.                         
                                                                               
 MS. O'FALLON noted that the issue of proving that someone is a                
 danger to others under the previous standard is not true.  The                
 standard was an "or" situation as well, incapacitated by alcohol or           
 a danger to others.  It is not necessary to have both.                        
                                                                               
 Number 1123                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY asked about the "group" on 4th Avenue in                
 Anchorage who live in tents as a reference to page 7, line 22 which           
 outlined "persons basic safety or personal needs, including food,             
 clothing, shelter, or medical care."  She noted that her objective            
 for food, clothing and shelter is not the same as everybody else.             
 There are people living in tents and eating out of "whatever."  She           
 added that this was not her norm, but it is certainly the norm for            
 this group.                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER noted that the amendment raised by the Department             
 of Law was small enough and manageable enough to take care of in              
 committee.                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE made a motion to move the amendment as noted.            
 On page 7, line 22 delete the word "or" and replace it with the               
 word "and".  There being no objection it was so moved.                        
                                                                               
 Number 1228                                                                   
                                                                               
 DIRK NELSON, Alaska Civil Liberties Union testified by                        
 teleconference from Valdez.  He stated that the Alaska Civil                  
 Liberties Union opposed this bill on the grounds that it expands              
 the scope of the statute from alcohol to drugs without clearly                
 defining what drugs are.  He used the example of a hyperactive                
 child taking drugs to help correct their condition.  Under this               
 legislation such a child could theoretically be committed.  This              
 legislation removes harm to others as a standard and (indisc. -               
 coughing) the words "greatly disabled" were the standard.  This               
 could multiply to an individual being able to function in meeting             
 their needs or potential harm to themselves or others in an                   
 imminent way.  It removes the right to a jury trial in the first              
 phase.  The period of time was changed for someone to be committed            
 from 90 to 180 days.                                                          
                                                                               
 MR. NELSON then asked to testify to this legislation not as a                 
 representative of the Alaska Civil Liberties Union, but as an                 
 individual.  He noted the disparity of the target populations                 
 within the legislation.  A reference in the legislation is made to            
 alcoholics with an implication of physical dependence, but in                 
 reference to drug abusers there is no indication of physical                  
 addiction or dependence.  He noted that there was a great deal of             
 disparity of defining what is a drug abuser.  Drug treatment as a             
 service is questionable at best regarding it's success.  Alaska has           
 no scientific data regarding the effectiveness.                               
                                                                               
 MR. NELSON pointed out that drug users are the most systemically              
 discriminated against group in society despite constitutional                 
 rulings stating, for example, that marijuana cultivation or use in            
 private is not a state legal issue.  Inaccurate data has been used            
 in Luki v. Neighbors and the Treasury Bureau, as well as other              
 urine testing cases that have depicted drug users as being greatly            
 responsible for costs to the economic system.  He noted the                   
 Firestone Study.                                                              
                                                                               
 MR. NELSON noted that language in HB 493 states that a refusal of             
 a physical exam will not be used as evidence as lack of judgment,             
 yet it mandates that this evidence be entered into the petition and           
 later considered.  Despite an apparent attempt to better define the           
 original and poorly constructed language in this bill, there                  
 remains a great deal of room for interpretation.  It is this type             
 of interpretation that he fears later will be put to misuse.  The             
 inability to hold a job may be perceived under this bill to include           
 anyone who is terminated for a urine test without taking into                 
 account whether they were legally eligible to be tested in the                
 first place.                                                                  
                                                                               
 MR. NELSON noted that previous court decisions have indicated that            
 forced medical care is not to be administered without there being             
 some degree of imminent danger of harm to self or others.  He                 
 wondered about someone who is wrongly locked up by testimony of a             
 family member who does not meet the criteria to do so.  He                    
 mentioned the cost issue of this legislation.   He also used                  
 mortality rates, such as heart disease which kills well over a half           
 a million people, yet he noted that the government isn't jailing              
 people for eating fried chicken.  Tobacco kills over 450 thousand             
 people a year and the government still subsidizing this.  Alcohol             
 kills 158 thousand people a year.  Illicit substances combined kill           
 11 thousand people per year, a mere pittance in contrast to the               
 others, but they seem to be pursuing these people with a vigor,               
 including taking their jobs away and locking them into                        
 institutions.  He said he was greatly concerned about the intent of           
 this bill.                                                                    
                                                                               
 Number 1607                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE asked Mr. Nelson if he knew of instances where           
 chronic alcoholics were a danger to the mental health of others.              
                                                                               
 MR. NELSON said that yes he had, but this did not meet the criteria           
 or the intent of the law.  Personally, listening to various                   
 political speeches he added was a danger to his mental health, but            
 this should not give him the opportunity to lock a person up.                 
                                                                               
 Number 1660                                                                   
                                                                               
 KATHI BURNS, Clinical Director, Northern Lights Recovery Center,              
 testified on HB 493 by teleconference from Nome.  She stated that             
 she represented the Norton Sound region with her testimony.  Norton           
 Sound has the highest suicide rate in Alaska.  This rate does not             
 include the drowning or environmental deaths.  Their environmental            
 deaths, 85 percent of which are from excessive cold and alcohol               
 related.  They have the second highest homicide rate in the state.            
 They have the third highest poisoning death rate in the state, 76             
 percent of which are alcohol related.  They have the highest                  
 firearm death rate in Alaska and suicide represents 65.2 percent of           
 the firearm deaths of this suicide rate.  The major number of                 
 suicides are alcohol related.  Ms. Burns noted that they have 49              
 times higher alcohol and drug related deaths than in the lower 48             
 states.                                                                       
                                                                               
 MS. BURNS stated that their concern in the Norton Sound area is               
 that they have a great deal of alcohol problems in the region and             
 they do not have a detox facility available for their region.  They           
 would like to see some consideration in the bill to give licensed             
 clinical social workers or some other qualified personnel the                 
 responsibility of providing some of the court testimony or some of            
 the work load in order that their physicians won't be overwhelmed             
 with this particular commitment issue.                                        
                                                                               
 Number 1780                                                                   
                                                                               
 MS. O'FALLON said she believed under AS 47.37.170 that a                      
 physician's assistant can do an evaluation.  She noted that the               
 location of this language was at regulation cited as 7 AAC 29.08.0            
 which states that "an individual performing duties under AS                   
 47.37.170.C as a qualified health practitioner must hold a valid              
 license under AS.08 as a physician, a physician's assistant or                
 nurse practitioner."  For a 12 hour hold someone other than a                 
 physician can do the evaluation.  She thought that Mr. Dapcevich              
 could speak to broadening the definition of who can do them.                  
                                                                               
 Number 1828                                                                   
                                                                               
 DON DAPCEVICH, Executive Director, Governor's Advisory Board on               
 Alcoholism & Drug Abuse, Department of Health & Social Services,              
 said that without a doubt a clinical social worker or a                       
 credentialed chemical dependency person can very well provide the             
 behavioral clinical data, however, in most cases they deal with               
 people who are severely debilitated medically as a result of their            
 use of alcohol or drugs.  A medical practitioner would probably               
 have to speak to the practitioner issues if they have decreased               
 liver functioning or kidney problems, etc.  These are people who              
 are severely debilitated medically.  Generally speaking, to protect           
 the rights of the person committed, there is an obligation to have            
 a medical physician to exam the client and provide input to the               
 courts.                                                                       
                                                                               
 MS. O'FALLON added that with the mental health commitment, under              
 Title 47, in order to commit someone for 30 days a physician is               
 also required as part of this procedure, either a physiatrist or a            
 physician.                                                                    
                                                                               
 Number 1888                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY referred to page 2, line 22 and noted that              
 especially in the rural areas there are village health aids that              
 are very qualified to be added to this legislation, as well as                
 nurse practitioners, to at least initiate this treatment.  She                
 noted that they were only allowed a 12 hour hold.                             
                                                                               
 MR. DAPCEVICH noted that the 12 hour time frame was the limited               
 time which a person can be held in protective custody by the jail.            
 This 12 hour figure is based on a clinical rather than an                     
 administrative basis.  It's not recommended to keep people in jail            
 who are entering withdrawal.  Withdrawal usually begins after about           
 12 hours.  In a detox facility they are allowed to hold someone up            
 to 72 hours and after this time an individual can refuse treatment.           
                                                                               
 MR. DAPCEVICH pointed out that the involuntary commitment section             
 of the statute is to target those people, for example, who had 170            
 twelve hour holds in a local jail in Fairbanks.  He didn't know how           
 many detox visits this person had and/or, how many aborted                    
 treatments there were, but these are people where if these days are           
 totaled up, they're either involved in the judicial system or the             
 medical system on a daily basis.  Detox is extremely time consuming           
 and expensive.  The department would do far better to use less                
 expensive treatment dollars to treat these individuals rather than            
 to continually cycle them through a detox or jail.                            
                                                                               
 MR. DAPCEVICH stated that what they attempted to do in the last go            
 around was to make the rest of the statute, not necessarily those             
 sections involved with involuntary commitment, but to make them               
 consistent.  He noted that slight changes were made in the other              
 sections, such as dealing with 12 hour holds, just to make the                
 language consistent throughout the statute.  They made no                     
 substantial changes in those other portions of the statute.                   
                                                                               
 MR. DAPCEVICH continued by responding to a question by Chairman               
 Porter about what defines a drug user.  He stated that the                    
 definition is consistent with alcohol.  They were speaking to the             
 title, "An act related to treatment of alcoholism or drug abuse."             
 The definition in the statute is consistent between alcohol and               
 drug abuse.  It specifically speaks to drug addiction.  On page 7,            
 Section 13 deals with the definition of addiction.                            
                                                                               
 Number 2090                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN asked how this definition could be used            
 to apply and differentiate between nicotine use to crack cocaine.             
 He asked if these both fell under the definition.                             
                                                                               
 MR. DAPCEVICH clarified that crack cocaine on the one hand meets              
 the component dealing with a person being unable to make rational             
 decisions because of impaired mental function.  Nicotine does not             
 impair mental function.                                                       
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY took exception with this statement.  She said           
 he had never tried to quit.                                                   
 MR. DAPCEVICH said he didn't speak to trying to quit or addiction,            
 but to mental functioning in relation to an ability to make                   
 decisions for the need for treatment.                                         
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN said that it's all arguable.  If someone           
 is addicted to a substance and they know it will kill them, but yet           
 they continue to do it.  The point was made that a lot of                     
 situations can fall into this.  He referred to the definition on              
 page 3 and said he shared the concerns expressed about this.  He              
 quoted that the person has to be "an alcoholic or drug abuser"                
 which means they have an addiction level and they then must be                
 either incapacitated or under a risk of serious physical harm or              
 illness.  He noted that plenty of drugs including legal and illegal           
 certainly constitute serious physical harm.  He thought that this             
 was a pretty broad category when applied to the world of drugs                
 whether people are consuming them legally or illegally.                       
                                                                               
 MR. DAPCEVICH noted that the referral early on deals with the issue           
 of removing a person from physical harm during a 12 hour hold,                
 which might be done with someone who is not addicted to alcohol or            
 drugs, or someone who needs (indisc. - coughing) because they are             
 not able to fend for themselves in terms of their own safety.  This           
 does not speak to addiction at all, but speaks only to protective             
 custody.  When speaking about involuntary commitment, which is a              
 different portion of the statute it's used in those cases where               
 there are all the markers for addiction, as well as, the other                
 portion of the statute dealing with a person being able to provide            
 for their own safety.                                                         
                                                                               
 Number 2217                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN said that this went to the heart of the            
 point.  This was the issue before them.  He read from the                     
 involuntary commitment section and he still didn't see how this               
 differentiation was made.  He again used the example of nicotine              
 and stated that it meets the requirement for addiction and under              
 this section the person has to be either incapacitated or who, if             
 not treated, will be at risk of serious harm or illness.  He asked            
 that if someone smokes 4 packs a day are they not at risk of                  
 serious physical harm or illness.                                             
                                                                               
 Number 2303                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER wondered if they could somehow write this "illegal            
 drugs" phrase specifically into the legislation so it was more                
 clear.                                                                        
                                                                               
 MR. DAPCEVICH agreed that they could.                                         
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER asked if it would be a simple matter to add illicit           
 drugs or a term like this into the appropriate places through a               
 conceptual amendment.                                                         
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN stated that the use of prescription                
 drugs is a major drug problem.                                                
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER responded that these are controlled substances and            
 he didn't really mean illicit, but controlled substances which                
 would include prescription drugs.                                             
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN said that his point was that people are            
 addicted to prescription drugs just as they are addicted to alcohol           
 or illegal drugs.  They have the same problems and pose the same              
 danger to society.  It's hard to differentiate for purposes of                
 debate.                                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 2437                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE made a motion to conceptually amend the bill             
 to include the term controlled substances where appropriate.  There           
 being no objection amendment number 2 passed.                                 
                                                                               
 TAPE 96-36, SIDE B                                                            
 Number 000                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS noted that the legislation since the last                
 meeting didn't sound any different.  The scope of it seemed more              
 broad regarding who can actually be placed in an involuntary                  
 situation.  She wanted to know more specifically those areas which            
 were worked on since the last meeting.  Representative Davis also             
 added that the legislation still did not address the lack of bed              
 space for these individuals.                                                  
                                                                               
 Number 061                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. DAPCEVICH stated that the aims of this legislation was to base            
 a commitment on sound clinical measures.  It ensures that the                 
 courts have the latitude necessary to make treatment decisions                
 which are appropriate to the severity of the problem before them              
 with reasonable expectations of success.  This legislation protects           
 the rights of these clients.  The legislation is more consistent              
 now than before in regard to the mental health commitments, as                
 versus the alcohol and now other drug abuse commitments.  The                 
 changes also made this legislation more user friendly for treatment           
 programs, especially in the bush communities.                                 
                                                                               
 MR. DAPCEVICH said that this legislation would not change the                 
 status quo initially.  It will take a period of time, in fact                 
 years, to affect the change necessary to have this long impact on             
 treatment programs.  First of all, this is the type of treatment              
 where they won't bring a commitment if they don't have a bed                  
 available to put a person in.  In this way, it's self-limiting.               
 The expansion of the involuntary commitment time is not an                    
 absolute, but an allowance on an individual basis.                            
                                                                               
 Number 157                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN lodged one of his concerns that this               
 process might be used to solve internal domestic disputes by a                
 relative.                                                                     
                                                                               
 MR. DAPCEVICH noted that for someone to be unjustly committed would           
 involve the collusion of a treatment professional, the family                 
 member, and the physicians, as well as, the courts.  He thought               
 that there were safeguards built in to prevent this from happening.           
 Certainly, on the other hand, the people who are most likely to be            
 committed by a family member are those who a family member can no             
 longer handle for whatever reason.                                            
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY stated that she had some concerns about the             
 cost of this program.  She asked for the cost figures.                        
                                                                               
 MR. DAPCEVICH noted that there was a fiscal note attached to this             
 legislation.  With response to the cost of this program, they're              
 bearing these costs right now in the emergency rooms, in the detox            
 centers and the jails, etc.  In response to the statement that                
 treatment doesn't work for people who don't want treatment there is           
 a preponderance of empirical evidence which indicates that nearly             
 everyone who comes forward for treatment is coming forward because            
 they are being coerced either by their families, the courts, their            
 employer, etc.  Basically, people do not want treatment and success           
 rates are not necessarily positively correlated between a person's            
 willingness to undergo treatment.                                             
                                                                               
 Number 361                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY responded by stating that "the day we said we           
 will take this on as a medical problem was the day we made a big              
 mistake...alcoholism should not be lumped into medical problems.              
 It should be lumped into something other than a disease.  It is a             
 personal problem you have and of course some people have more of a            
 problem saying no.  That to me is our major problem that we've                
 taken on the care and feeding of a group of people that don't want            
 care and feeding."                                                            
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER stated that "in all fairness the alternative is               
 much more dismal from what we're doing right now.  This bill is an            
 attempt to try to do a little better with the alternative.  Quite             
 frankly the U.S. Supreme Court has brought to us by saying that               
 public intoxication should be decriminalized in the first place.              
 We had a way of treating people who didn't want to be treated, it             
 was called the correctional system.  We can't do that anymore.                
 This bill isn't the enemy."                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 416                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN said that he didn't disagree with this             
 statement, but in the area of drugs they still do have the                    
 correctional system and he could see the logic of this legislation            
 as it applies to alcohol.                                                     
                                                                               
 MR. DAPCEVICH stated that there is often a situation which will               
 present itself where an individual is incapacitated by drugs and              
 putting themselves and others in harms way.  He noted that where an           
 involuntary commitment is an appropriate option the people involved           
 cannot prove any drug use or there is no case to be formed for drug           
 use, but the individual might be addicted to prescription drugs or            
 crack cocaine where there can be a more legal case made, it is from           
 a medical and safety standpoint to put them in a treatment facility           
 rather than jail.  This does not in any way affect the legal                  
 consequences of illegal drug use.                                             
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER pointed out the amount of time the criminal             
 justice system would be saved if an addict went successfully                  
 through this system as an alternative.                                        
                                                                               
 Number 570                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN made a motion to move CSHB 493 (G) out of the            
 House Judiciary Committee with individual recommendations and                 
 attached fiscal note as amended.                                              
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN asked if anyone had an interest in an              
 amendment to leave this legislation to solely alcohol.                        
                                                                               
 Number 602                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER stated that frankly he would be surprised if very             
 many pure drug abusers would find themselves in this program.  What           
 this will do is eliminate the debate about how much of a person's             
 problem is the result of alcohol use or how much is due to their              
 using drugs at the time of an involuntary commitment hearing.  If             
 they do, this would probably mean they're so far "down the tube"              
 they would need this program anyway.                                          
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS said she would be interested in Representative           
 Finkelstein's proposal, although she said she was convinced that              
 even though the presenters of the legislation think it would have             
 an impact, she felt as though this program would not do a whole               
 lot.                                                                          
                                                                               
 Number 660                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER said that it was his impression about the function            
 of this bill is that it's available for a few isolated individual             
 cases which every community has.  It would be for the individuals             
 described who are going through detox 100 times and literally                 
 spending thousands of dollars in this process.  An acholic who has            
 been sick for a long time doesn't get rational for sometimes three            
 months.  A longer period of involuntary commitment can sometimes              
 get a person to this point.  "We don't have an answer for                     
 alcoholism, if we did, we'd do it."                                           
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN said that he wouldn't be offering an               
 amendment as described.                                                       
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER stated that they had a motion to move this                    
 legislation as described.  There being no objection it was so                 
 moved.                                                                        
 HB 479 - IMMUNITY FOR EQUINE ACTIVITIES                                   
                                                                               
 Number 728                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER introduced House Bill 479 and Representative Gary             
 Davis as sponsor came forward to outline for the committee this               
 legislation.                                                                  
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE GARY DAVIS stated that he represented District 8, an           
 areas from Soldotna to Seward and noted that it wasn't the horse              
 capitol of the state, but it was fairly close.  He outlined that HB           
 479 was a bill to limit the civil liability of persons who are                
 involved with equine activities throughout the state.  He noted               
 several exclusions in this legislation, which was due to the innate           
 nature of equine animals.  If someone is not familiar with how to             
 handle these animals there is opportunity for injury and certainly            
 at no fault of the owners or sponsors of the animals as indicated             
 in the sponsor statement.                                                     
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS stated that there were a number of exceptions            
 to the legislation, such as gross negligence and allowing someone             
 unfamiliar with these activities to participate, as well as, a                
 provision for spectators and faulty equipment utilized in this                
 activity as well.  He noted that there were a number of definitions           
 which clarify what is outlined in the legislation.                            
                                                                               
 Number 920                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER outlined an amendment to HB 478 which would                   
 essentially delete the last half of line 13 on page one, and line             
 14.                                                                           
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS agreed with this amendment as illustrated.               
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN offered this amendment number one for                    
 consideration by adding the words "gross, or" on line 11, page 1              
 and to make the changes as Chairman Porter indicated, beginning               
 with the middle of line 13 on page one, to delete the remainder of            
 the sentence, beginning with the phrase, "for purposes of."                   
                                                                               
 Number 980                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER reiterated this amendment number 1, which basically           
 amounted to recognizing the inherent risk of equine activities, but           
 not to include a limitation of liability for gross negligence.  The           
 amendment read as follows:                                                    
                                                                               
 "(1) gross negligence or reckless or intentional misconduct of the            
 equine activity sponsor, equine professional, or equine owner, or             
 agents or employees of the equine activity sponsor, equine                    
 professional, or equine owner;"                                               
                                                                               
 There being no objection this amendment was moved.                            
                                                                               
 Number 998                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN stated that they see a lot of these                
 bills with excepted liabilities and asked what it was about horse             
 activities that should allow for an exception as versus ones for              
 bicycle activities, for example.  What is it that's inherent in               
 riding a horse that means someone should have less responsibility             
 for their actions.                                                            
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS noted that there were probably plenty of other           
 similar activities which exist that should allow for exemptions,              
 but this equine issue was brought to him by a constituent who deals           
 with these types of activities.  They also found in their research            
 that a lot of other states have these similar equine laws.  There             
 are a lot of frivolous lawsuits related to equine activities and              
 presently the people involved with accidents should know better.              
 Representative Davis stated that there was no "yes or no" answer to           
 Representative Finkelstein's question.                                        
                                                                               
 Number 1102                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE made a motion to move CSHB 479 (L&C) as                  
 amended from the House Judiciary Committee with attached fiscal               
 notes and individual recommendations.  There was an objection made            
 by Representative Finkelstein.                                                
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN spoke to his objection.  He felt as                
 though there were lots of entities who would like exemptions from             
 Alaska's liability laws and eventually if they exempt them all,               
 there will be no liability laws left.  People ought to be                     
 responsible for their actions and he saw no reason whey this equine           
 exemption action should be taken.  He added that if they do take              
 this action, he felt as though they should include other trail                
 oriented sports activities which are also big in the state.                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER requested a roll call vote.  Representative B.                
 Davis, Green, Bunde, Toohey and Porter voted yes.  Representative             
 Finkelstein voted no.  Chairman Porter then announced that CSHB 479           
 (L&C) had passed from the House Judiciary Committee.                          
 HB 318 - MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT DECLARATIONS                               
                                                                               
 Number 1180                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER then introduced HB 318 and invited Representative             
 Toohey to paraphrase her sponsor statement regarding this                     
 legislation into the record.                                                  
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY stated that this bill would allow an                    
 individual to make advanced directives regarding his or her mental            
 health treatment.  The person would need to be of sound mind when             
 making the declaration which would designate an "attorney in fact"            
 who would act only when the individual was determined to be                   
 incapable.  The directives would address use of psychotropic                  
 medications, electroconvulsive therapy and the length of short-term           
 admission up to 17 days to a treatment facility.                              
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY continued that this declaration would be in             
 effect for three years unless the individual became incapable, in             
 this case it would continue in effect until the individual is no              
 longer incapable.  While an individual is capable he or she can               
 revoke the declaration in whole or in part at any time.  This                 
 declaration gives the individual the opportunity to make his or her           
 wishes known about the treatments.  Ones that have worked in the              
 past and ones that he or she desires in the future as well as,                
 treatment that has not worked in the past and would not be desired            
 in the future.                                                                
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY noted that this legislation provides for a              
 substitute decision maker with whom the doctors would consult                 
 should the declaration not be specific enough or should the doctors           
 recommend a treatment not specified.  House Bill 318 is similar to            
 an Oregon law.  In Oregon they found that individuals who had                 
 fought hospitalization and medication in the past, now were more              
 willing to go to the hospital because they had a declaration in               
 place and they thought their decisions would be heard.                        
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY summed up by stating that HB 318 is supported           
 by the Charter North Hospital, the Alaska State Hospital and                  
 Nursing Home Association, Southcentral Counseling Center, the                 
 Alaska Psychological Association, the Mental Health Association in            
 Alaska, and the Mental Health Consumers of Alaska, as well as the             
 Department of Health and Social Services.                                     
                                                                               
 Number 1335                                                                   
                                                                               
 LEONARD ABEL, PhD, Mental Health Services Program, Department of              
 Health & Social Services, stated that he thought this was an                  
 important piece of legislation.  He said that the department                  
 strongly supports this bill.  Personally he became interested in              
 this issue about 12 years ago when he was working at the                      
 Southcentral Counseling Center in Anchorage.  He had a client with            
 schizophrenia, someone who came under the diagnosis of individuals            
 who have one or two psychotic episodes in their lifetime and spend            
 most of their time stabilized.  The patient spoke to him on one               
 occasion and asked if there some kind of document she could sign in           
 case she had another episode, a document which could direct her to            
 go to the hospital and get medications.  At that time as a                    
 clinician, he had to tell her that no, there was no such vehicle.             
 This woman knew that if she had another psychotic episode, she                
 would lose the ability to think logically and rationally.  She                
 would lose the ability to make good decisions about her care and              
 treatment.  She knew that it was likely that she would become                 
 paranoid, that she would be frightened of anyone who tried to help            
 her.                                                                          
                                                                               
 MR. ABEL continued that once she had a breakdown without this                 
 declaration someone would have to decide that she was a danger to             
 herself or others, greatly disabled due to this illness and put her           
 in a hospital against her will.   Once at API the staff would                 
 possibly go through days and days of trying to convince her to take           
 her medication.  Eventually she would stabilize.  A declaration of            
 this type says in essence that if someone gets sick and looses                
 their ability to deal reasonably with a caregiver, that person                
 would still want to receive help.  This person would want to be               
 given medication or do whatever that would make them stable.  At              
 the same time this would give someone a chance to say, for example,           
 that thorazine makes them sick and they'd rather not take this                
 medication.  This could be applied to electric shock as well, among           
 other treatments.  It would also be an opportunity to designate               
 what methods of treatment work and what ones don't.                           
                                                                               
 MR. ABEL added there should be no added cost for this legislation             
 to the system.  It was pointed out that there actually might be a             
 negative fiscal note.  If people can be put into treatment quickly            
 a lot of the costs associated with commitment hearings and side               
 trips to local community hospitals enroute to API could be avoided.           
 He strongly urged the committee to pass this bill.                            
                                                                               
 Number 1609                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked about another bill because of it's                 
 possible effect on this legislation now before the committee.  He             
 asked if there was any way that if this legislation was passed it             
 could be construed into a possible bill that gives the right of an            
 individual to terminate their own life.  If a person is                       
 incapacitated could the "attorney in fact" act in this person's               
 stead for other things besides treatment of mental illness.                   
                                                                               
 MR. ABEL noted that the title of the bill, "An Act relating to                
 advance directives for mental health treatment," and the language             
 throughout the bill states that persons who sign the declaration              
 are making decisions about mental health treatment.  He didn't                
 think that life or death was mentioned anywhere in this statute.              
                                                                               
 Number 1686                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY stated that this was the third time he had               
 heard this bill and he still didn't understand what they're really            
 trying to accomplish with this legislation.  He pointed out that              
 anybody can assign a power of attorney to somebody.  It seemed that           
 they were requiring that there be an outside judgment involved if             
 this feared event happened.  Until it's been diagnosed or confirmed           
 by independent parties the person who holds a power of attorney can           
 counsel caregivers because they have intimate knowledge of the                
 intent of their custodial person, but these powers wouldn't go into           
 effect until there is confirmation that this mental illness has set           
 in.  This was his interpretation of this legislation.                         
                                                                               
 MR. ABEL stated that a person may have a guardian or a conservator            
 which are different types of appointments for different reasons.              
 He didn't see this legislation affecting these other types of                 
 relationships.  This legislation would appoint a very specific                
 "attorney in fact" for the narrow purposes of acting on the                   
 person's behalf to acquire mental health treatment.                           
                                                                               
 Number 1850                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY responded that he understood this "attorney in           
 fact" can not stand in and act as the individual's guardian until             
 such time as some independent party makes a determination that                
 mental illness has set in and the person is not capable of making             
 decisions.  He wasn't sure they were making a big step here.                  
 Without this law a determination is necessary that mental illness             
 is involved and medical help is needed.  Anybody can make a list of           
 things which outlines their medical history and those treatments              
 which they don't respond well to.  He asked what they were gaining            
 with a custodian or power of attorney to tell the medical                     
 professionals what the wishes of the patient are when these                   
 professionals are capable of reading a document.                              
                                                                               
 MR. ABEL said that the intent of this statute allows for a lesser             
 level of disability which grants the "attorney in fact" the power             
 to direct the treatment lesser than would be necessary for a                  
 commitment hearing.                                                           
                                                                               
 Number 2030                                                                   
                                                                               
 DOROTHY PEAVEY, Executive Director, Mental Health Consumers of                
 Alaska, testified by teleconference from Anchorage.  She noted that           
 this legislation was a response to a lot of need which they have              
 seen for a long time.  It gives consumers a means to make their               
 wishes known and to have some legal validity to these choices at a            
 time when their decision making is poor and when their ability to             
 be a good historian is also poor.  Currently, there is a standard             
 of competency which is determined by a court after a hearing.  This           
 legislation provides for a lower standard.  This legislation was              
 designed so that a person would be found incapable by either two              
 physicians, one of whom has to be a psychiatrist or a physician in            
 a professional mental health clinic or someone with a master's                
 degree or higher in the mental health services, especially in the             
 bush communities.  This person would authorize a hospital stay up             
 to 17 days.  The declaration does have a fill in the blank format,            
 so a person who fills out the declaration could designate that they           
 only want to be hospitalized for four days before they would have             
 to go to a commitment hearing, if they desired not to be in the               
 hospital.                                                                     
                                                                               
 MS. PEAVEY stated that currently, if a person does not wish to be             
 in the hospital and they have to go to court to be committed, if              
 they still refuse to take their medication, they have to go to a              
 medication hearing.  Both of these hearings tie up a lot of state             
 resources, such as a judge, a physiatrist, the attorney general and           
 a public defender.  This can take quite a lot of time before these            
 hearing may take place.  If a declaration is filled out the patient           
 has already designated the medication they're willing to take in              
 the event of a relapse.  If these drugs are not appropriate, the              
 doctor has choices, first they can go to the "attorney in fact" and           
 then make a decision about the medication or if they can't get                
 permission at this point they can decline to provide services                 
 unless it's an emergency situation.  Then they would have to use              
 good medical judgment.                                                        
                                                                               
 Number 2333                                                                   
                                                                               
 RICHARD RAINERY, Executive Director, Alaska Mental Health Board               
 stated that the board supports this legislation.  They feel it                
 provides consumers with an instrument of control over their own               
 treatment which is currently lacking.                                         
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER asked about the absence of the definition of "sound           
 mind" in the bill.  He didn't know if there should or shouldn't be,           
 but it seemed to him that there's an automatic suggestion of a way            
 to circumvent the intent of this legislation by trying to establish           
 that the person was not of sound mind when they completed the form,           
 i.e. they had previous mental health problems.  (Additional                   
 comments made by Representative Davies were incomplete due to the             
 end of tape.)                                                                 
                                                                               
 TAPE 96-37, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 063                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER noted that in these situations there was probably             
 some previous concern about the mental health of the principle, so            
 to then say at some point subsequent to treatment, but looking                
 forward to the fact that there may be an episode, is there one                
 strike against the determination that this person is of sound mind            
 already.  He stated that maybe this issue wasn't worth dealing                
 with.                                                                         
                                                                               
 Number 122                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE concurred with Representative Davis and her              
 point regarding this legislation deals with a mental health                   
 professional and they need to be willing to accept this                       
 professional's definition that this person at one time was                    
 competent to make this judgment through a declaration.                        
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER said he didn't intend to create a problem that                
 makes this more difficult, but to recognize this might happen, so             
 maybe they should negate an avenue of attack.                                 
                                                                               
 Number 225                                                                    
                                                                               
 TERRI LAUTERBACH, Esq., Legislative Legal and Research Services               
 testified regarding Chairman Porter's question.  The declaration of           
 being of sound mind is in many types of other legal documents, such           
 as a will.  This type of document is not only applied to people               
 with mental illness episodes, but someone might craft similar                 
 language in a living will for a possible car accident for example.            
 The restitution of "being of sound mind" is normal, and could be              
 crafted by a person who has never had a mental illness episode.               
 She stated that hopefully these people would consult a lawyer.  The           
 form does allow for a disclaimer which states that these are                  
 important decisions and the person should consult a lawyer.                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER pointed out for the sake of consistency on page 8,            
 which deals with the affirmation of witnesses and the provision               
 that witnesses state they know the principle.  On the bottom of               
 page 2, the witnesses again must attest that the principle is known           
 to them and for consistency he suggested adding the word                      
 "personally" known to both sections.  Ms. Lauterbach said that this           
 couldn't hurt.                                                                
                                                                               
 Number 485                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER outlined this change by outlining the following               
 amendment that on page 3, line 1, insert the word "personally"                
 before the word known.  This amendment would read, "...must attest            
 that the principal is personally known to them,..."                           
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY objected.  He stated that the traditional,               
 customary manner of witnessing a signature in the state of Alaska             
 is to have a signature notarized.  For a person to travel to a                
 state medical center in Anchorage if they live 400 miles away, it             
 would be difficult or impossible to find two people who would sign            
 a statement saying that they personally know the principle.  This             
 why we have notary publics to authenticate such signatures.  He               
 understood what the intent of the motion was, but he's had time to            
 think and worry about this issue.                                             
                                                                               
 Number 609                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE said he didn't see a problem with this.  If he           
 had to travel to a facility he would bring his declaration with him           
 which would be already signed by family members or people who know            
 him.  There's a difference between proving who he is and proving              
 that when he's making decisions about medical care that he really             
 was in his right mind.                                                        
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS noted that, yes, this declaration would be               
 signed in advance.                                                            
                                                                               
 MS. LAUTERBACH understood that what they were attempting to do is             
 to make two sections of the legislation consistent.  If                       
 Representative Vezey had a concern about using these two witnesses            
 rather than a notary, this is a different kind of amendment which             
 would deal with different issues.                                             
                                                                               
 Number 761                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY withdrew his objection.                                  
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER stated that without further objection this                    
 amendment passed.                                                             
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS made a motion to move CSHB 318 (A) with                  
 individual recommendations and the attached fiscal note as amended.           
 There being no objection it was so moved.                                     
 HB 359 - APPOINTMENT PROCESS FOR BDS & COMM'NS                            
                                                                               
 Number 822                                                                    
                                                                               
 PATRICK LOUNSBURY, Staff to Representative Porter presented                   
 information to the committee regarding HB 359.  He noted that                 
 version (g) of this legislation was a result of the House State               
 Affairs Committee meeting and added that version (k) of this same             
 legislation was before the committee now.                                     
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER asked if it was appropriate to note that the                  
 difference between these two versions was one word and basically              
 that this change didn't have a substantive effect on the                      
 legislation.                                                                  
                                                                               
 MR. LOUNSBURY said that this was correct and then referred to page            
 4, line 12 of work draft (k) and specified that the word "each" was           
 introduced to clarify that a governor is not required to present              
 names of persons appointed by a previous governor.  This                      
 essentially takes care of any "lame duck" appointments, which is              
 basically the intent of this bill.  The phrase, "by that governor"            
 was added in as well.                                                         
                                                                               
 Number 920                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVID FINKELSTEIN asked if there was any position              
 from the administration regarding this legislation.                           
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER noted that they had worked with the administration            
 while presenting this legislation to the State Affairs Committee.             
 The administration had some major concerns of the administration              
 which had already been addressed.  The existing minor concerns                
 related to the fact that the legislation requires that forthcoming            
 appointments are due in a shorter period of time than they used to            
 be.  This requires the administration to do more work in a shorter            
 period time.  Chairman Porter noted again that the administration             
 had no substantive concerns regarding this legislation as of this             
 time.                                                                         
                                                                               
 Number 965                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE CON BUNDE noted that in the past they've had                   
 problems with individuals slated to serve on boards before they               
 were actually confirmed.                                                      
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER asked that Mr. Lounsbury be allowed to explain what           
 this legislation does so that they can get a grasp on that first.             
                                                                               
 Number 984                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. LOUNSBURY stated that this legislation would require the                  
 governor to present to the legislature within 30 days of convening,           
 the names of persons appointed who have previously been unconfirmed           
 and the names of persons to be appointed, for example, an                     
 appointment made after 30 days of the session while the session is            
 still in progress would be presented within five calendar days.               
 This feature, which is basically the main thrust of this                      
 legislation, allows a new governor to appoint new people or                   
 reappoint the interim appointee selected by the previous governor.            
                                                                               
                                                                               
 MR. LOUNSBURY continued outlining the bill by specific sections.              
 Section 1 simply conforms the occupational licensing boards under             
 the purview of this bill and these are boards such as the athletic            
 commission, board of barbers, commercial services, etc.  The next             
 few sections just add on other boards established under this                  
 legislation's jurisdiction.  Section 12 requires that all the                 
 boards conform to a March 1, expiration date of when boards are               
 appointed or reappointed.  This would allow the legislature to deal           
 with this procedure during session.  This would allow the governor            
 to think about these appointments before and after this date.                 
 Section 13 of this legislation conforms the bill to how the prior             
 boards dealt with vacancies and would conform to Section 14 of the            
 bill.  Section 14 is the "heart and soul" of the bill.  Section 14            
 begins on page 4, line 8 and provides that any aspect of a general            
 procedure in this statute can be modified by the legislature for              
 any board or commission and brought under one umbrella.                       
                                                                               
 MR. LOUNSBURY again reiterated that on page 4, line 12, this                  
 language clarifies that the governor is not required to present               
 names of persons appointed by a previous governor and that only a             
 presentment during the session satisfies the presentment                      
 requirement.  He further stated that this section allows the                  
 governor to present to the legislature within 30 days of convening,           
 the names of those people who have not been previously confirmed              
 and the people who have been recently appointed.  The third                   
 sentence of this section provides that an appointment be made after           
 30 days of the session, ("this is all going to happen in the first            
 year of catch up, so we can all come under March 1,") that the                
 appointment made after 30 days of the session while the session is            
 still in progress has to be presented within five calendar days to            
 allow the legislature to act on it.  On page 5, line 26 it provides           
 that the duration of an appointment made during the legislature's             
 interim ends when a new regular session convenes, but this                    
 appointee can be reappointed and presented for the confirmation               
 process.  "So if you catch someone in-between governors this would            
 allow the new governor to accept the prior governor's appointment             
 and would allow this to go through if this new governor chose to do           
 this."                                                                        
                                                                               
 Number 1280                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE asked if he understand that any appointment              
 made in the interim even during a governor's term would then only             
 be a temporary appointment which would have to be reappointed.                
                                                                               
 MR. LOUNSBURY said this would be true and would expire on the first           
 day of session.                                                               
                                                                               
 Number 1299                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE CYNTHIA TOOHEY asked about an individual who had               
 been sitting on a commission for five years and the change has come           
 about, but her name has never been mentioned, would she be                    
 automatically waived into this seat.  If she has not been                     
 reappointed, she has not been removed, but going from one year to             
 the next, does the omission of a name mean an appointment.                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER stated that the only names which have to be offered           
 are new appointments.  If someone is appointed for three years and            
 they are confirmed that first year there is nothing which happens             
 the second or third year.  Chairman Porter noted that Jim Baldwin             
 from the Department of Law was in attendance if anyone had any                
 questions of him and then asked Mr. Baldwin if he had characterized           
 the department's position correctly regarding this legislation.               
                                                                               
 Number 1374                                                                   
                                                                               
 JAMES BALDWIN, Assistant Attorney General, Governmental Affairs               
 Section, Department of Law responded that because there were about            
 1,200 offices which they are required to fill, having a significant           
 portion of these coming to an end on a date certain would place a             
 heavy burden on the governor's office to fill these vacancies and             
 he noted the other legal issues which they already discussed in the           
 conjunction with the State Affairs Committee hearing which were               
 really ancillary to the main purpose of the bill.                             
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER stated that fundamentally, what this bill is                  
 seeking to do is to eliminate the mess they had a few years back              
 with an Alaska Public Utilities Commission (APUC) appointment and             
 the resulting suit is still going on costing everyone a bunch of              
 money.  Basically what this legislation says is that appointments             
 made after session is over, in any event, and especially by a                 
 governor who is leaving office, are not required to be carried                
 forward by the next governor.  The new governor may or may not                
 bring a name forward, but that interim appointments "drop dead" if            
 you will, at the end of the calendar year and may be reappointed by           
 the governor, each governor, not the previous governor.  There is             
 also a provision which would allow that an appointment that wasn't            
 otherwise submitted to the legislature in a timely fashion, that              
 could have been during the session, does not continue so as to                
 close the loop about being able to circumvent the confirmation                
 process altogether.                                                           
                                                                               
 Number 1486                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. LOUNSBURY added that regarding the heavy work load burden to              
 the governor's office, since the boards are graduated, according to           
 his calculations the worst case scenario would be about 80                    
 appointments required in those specific months for each board                 
 affected.                                                                     
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER noted that bringing these appointments together               
 during the session obviously is so they are confirmed and not                 
 spread out.                                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 1527                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN asked if it would be a reasonable                  
 compromise to make this period 45 days.                                       
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER didn't think the concern was necessarily the length           
 of time, but more the fact that all the proposed appointment names            
 would be required all at once.                                                
 Number 1557                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. BALDWIN did agree with this observation.                                  
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN wished to confirm with Mr. Baldwin that            
 he was not opposed to the bill.                                               
                                                                               
 MR. BALDWIN said he would merely repeat the testimony presented in            
 the State Affairs Committee meeting.  The department favors the               
 concept (indisc. - whispering and paper shuffling) and this bill              
 would clear up the legal issues.  This bill would agree with the              
 state's position presently in court, however there are some                   
 problems in the way the bill would operate.  The department is in             
 favor of parts of the bill to clear up the legal entanglements and            
 stated that there are certain elements in the governor's office who           
 are not happy with the bill and he was asked to convey this to                
 Chairman Porter.  Chairman Porter said that he could not                      
 accommodate their concerns regarding the deadline option.  The                
 Department of Law suggested an alternative, but it ran against a              
 bigger issue which had to do with a concern about short term                  
 appointments and how this would be undermined.  He said he was not            
 authorized to say that they support the bill, but the                         
 administration has asked for many changes to this bill and he would           
 estimate that three quarters of these have been addressed.                    
                                                                               
 Number 1695                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE made a motion to move CSHB 359 (k) as the                
 committees's adopted working version.  There being no objection it            
 was so moved.  Representative Bunde then made a motion to move HB             
 359 (k) from the House Judiciary Committee with individual                    
 recommendations and zero fiscal note.  There being no objection it            
 was so moved.                                                                 
 Number 1695                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER adjourned the House Judiciary Committee meeting at            
 3:07 p.m.                                                                     
                                                                               
                                                                               

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